Originally published in 2001, this brand new revision of Ambroise Pro, — including new italics — has taken 15 years. It seemed appropriate to explain the design process to young generations of type designers, and to introduce to type users a little glimpse of our everyday world. However to better understand the history of Ambroise, at least a few references to the Didot’s history provides a little clarity… How to approach the history of Didots?
Since 1994, for each typeface published by Typofonderie, a printed specimen is designed. The explanation is very simple: before the web, this was in fact the only way to present correctly a typeface. The web has changed that, a lot. What’s the function of a typeface specimen? A real tool for graphic designers, to check the style and functionalities of typefaces they may potentially need as part of any new projects?
It is really difficult in a few paragraphs to define the Maximilien Vox’s rich and complex career. His name sounds familiar among graphic designers and typographers, not as familiar to a largest public. A typographic classification bears his name, the Vox-ATypI classification. As well as a Parisian high school specialized in graphic arts. Maximilien Vox was born as Samuel William Théodore Monod on 1894, December 16th, in Condé-sur-Noireau, France. His eclectic competencies marked the French graphic design and typography.
Nationality does not apply easily to type and culture, as Yvonne Schwemer Scheddin has said: ‘The concept of “nation” is political, whereas script is connected directly to language and its geographic linguistic areas.’ A couple of centuries ago, languages, scripts and the typefaces which represented them were intrinsically related to each other. Earlier Roman capitals became the typographic system dedicated to monumental inscriptions during the Roman Empire, and later the Carolingian minuscule was adopted as the official script for all of the Charlemagne Empire…
Published by Atelier Perrousseaux, this voluminous opus History of typographic writing: the 19th century French style, of nearly 400 pages is once again an erudite body of work with a great wealth of information. It covers not only what is most famous & important in French typography in the 19th Century, like the Didot family characters (which take central stage in the book) but also aspects which are sometimes rather under-valued: for example, the influence of English typography on the French type designers of the time, the importance of the rebirth of the Elzévirs (old face) or the invention of fancy characters.
Xavier Dupré is a world-renowned type designer. After studying calligraphy and typography at the Scriptorium de Toulouse, France, he collaborated with Ladislas Mandel. Since then, he has established himself in Cambodia where he designs typefaces with as much freedom as possible. He appreciates Licko’s creativity, as much as the fluidity and calligraphic tensions in Slimbach’s works, and the simplicity of the design of Carter or Unger. Xavier began type design on screen but then moved back to pencil drawings on tracing paper and even painting with gouache. This allowed him to sharpen his eye. He published Mislab with Typofonderie in 2013. Dàvid Ranc interviewed him for Typofonderie’s Gazette.
Presenting 50 years of type design was not an easy task. Albert Boton’s career was indeed long and very prolific. He was born in 1932 in Paris. His father was a carpenter so he grew up in the smell of glue and wood chips. Nothing predisposed him to become a type designer and yet that’s when he joined his father’s workshop that he discover type design.
Its interesting to see a group of students producing a video about font piracy in design schools. Conducting interviews of various people from students — who actually use illegal fonts — to typeface designers, teachers and so on. Its a good topic about something that many people doing everyday (& not only students), without speaking and saying anything about it. Based on what I have understand from this nice video, is that learning more about the value of typefaces will help a lot. A step to the right direction.
Stéphane Elbaz is graphic and type designer. In 2009 he was awarded the Certificate of Excellence in Type Design from the Type Directors Club of New York for his type family Geneo recently published by Typofonderie. He is the first typeface designer outside the foundry to be published by Typofonderie. It seems to be interesting and necessary to interview him.
Cyrus Highsmith, type designer working for the Font Bureau, just published Inside Paragraphs: typographic fundamentals, a book about fine type setting. Thinking the reader is not an idiot, Cyrus Highsmith doesn’t just tell how to do things, but explains why it has to be like that. A must-have for all the graphic-designers.